Aiming High Learning for Life

IQM Assessment

Please read below an overview of the school's Inclusion Quality Mark Assessment 2023/24.  This can also be downloaded as a PDF at the bottom of this page.

Putnoe Primary School continues to be a happy and inclusive learning environment that seeks to innovate and continuously adapt to meet the needs of its learners.  The relationships on which the school community is built are strong and children, parents and staff all spoke enthusiastically about the care and kindness they are treated with.  One parent remarked, “the staff are wonderful”.  Another commented, “since starting here, my child is the happiest they have ever been”.  The school values feedback from parents and collects this regularly.

School leaders have worked tirelessly to promote positive attitudes and behaviours for learning and classrooms are consistently places of calm and purposeful learning.  Staff share a collective sense of pride, “we work hard and are proud of what we do” and this care is also apparent in the physical environment of the school.  Learning spaces are bright, cared for and inviting.

Senior leaders recognise the importance of being a visible presence in the school and are regularly found greeting parents at the school gate.  The Headteacher also works as a Special Police Constable, and this has helped strengthen community ties and sets a strong example.  The school also collaborates with various policing units and community projects such as BLISS, which seeks to reduce the risk of exclusion and exploitation.

The school is an inclusive place to work and staff retention is high.  Support staff spoke about the high levels of support and trust they receive from the leadership team and the continuous opportunities they are having for professional development.  They feel valued as part of a strong team.  The Headteacher was described as, “amazing”.  This sense of partnership and collaboration extends to the work of the Parent Partnership Group which worked closely with the school to plan events and raise funds for whole school priorities.

School leaders have reflected on ways in which they can streamline workload and improve learning for children by ensuring that planning and evaluation tasks are not repeated unnecessarily.  The school has reviewed its feedback policy to reflect the importance of verbal and ‘in the moment’ feedback.

The school’s achievements have recently been recognised by Bedford Borough Council for their Year 6 pupil outcomes in a letter which recognised ‘… how well you and staff have supported pupils in achieving good outcomes’ and the school has been invited to share key initiatives at an Education Improvement Group.  Staff were thanked for their ‘commitment to improving outcomes for children’.  In 2023 66% of KS2 children achieved the expected combined standard, compared to the national average of 59%.

A learning walk of the school made clear the high expectations that staff hold and the relentless routines that are in place to achieve this.  Learning was carefully planned, and classrooms and resources were organised to minimise disruption.  Fluid grouping staggered starts and carousels were used effectively in phonics teaching to provide targeted input and support for pupil learning.

To increase pupil participation, teachers use various strategies to gather feedback.  Alongside ‘hands up’, children are invited to make statements about their learning and other children can indicate with hand gestures if they agree or disagree.  Questions are planned and structured to illicit key learning and teachers demonstrate a strong knowledge of the needs of the learners in their classes.  Provision maps for each class are planned by the class teacher and reflect discussions relating to pupil progress from pupil progress meetings.  These are shared and reviewed regularly and are responsive to the changing needs of the cohort.

Staff share a vision that children need to experience a range of cultural experiences and are seeking new ways and opportunities to provide this through trips, visits and handson learning.  The school values and appreciates its wealth of diversity and sees this as its strength.  They run a diversity group to engage with different members of the community and seek ways to broaden cultural opportunities.

Putnoe Primary School has an exceptional provision for the arts and media and provides its pupils with innovative ways to engage with this.  The school radio has been used to broadcast events such as Remembrance Sunday and children work to write, perform and produce programmes.  The media suite along with green screens enables learning to “come to life”.  State-of-the-art IT suites and a dedicated music studio ensure children have a different platform to showcase their learning in alternative ways.  Through this, children develop a strong awareness of writing for purpose.

As part of the school’s commitment to the arts, they recognise that not all children feel comfortable performing and so there are many opportunities to work ‘backstage’.  Lighting, sound and production are valued parts of performances.  On the day of the assessment, a visiting artist was in school working with a chosen group of students.  The children were highly focussed on their work and demonstrated a high level of skill in what they were able to produce.

Leaders recognise that, “opportunities for visitors inspire children to achieve high standards” and these opportunities extend to all areas of the curriculum.  Science labs instil in children’s minds that they are scientists and they have enhanced opportunities to learn practically.  Recently, there was a visiting planetarium to the school hall to enrich the learning opportunities in science.

The school website states, “we recognise that every child has special, individual needs.  All achievements are celebrated and built on, whether great or small.  Children are highly involved in their learning, independence and self-motivation are encouraged and pupils are supportive of the efforts of others.”  The school commits to recognising and celebrating pupil achievements and takes advantage of opportunities to showcase talent.  The Gill Peck Award recognises outstanding contributions to the arts and there are lots of opportunities for pupils to participate in sporting activities.  The school seeks to make these as inclusive as possible by introducing new sports such as curling.

Members of the School Council spoke confidently about their role in the school and recognise that they have the power to drive and inform change.  There are other opportunities for the pupil voice to be heard with roles such as Sports Leader, Eco Councillors and Cultural Ambassador.

Putnoe Primary School is a happy, vibrant and inclusive school.  The professional care and support the children receive are exemplary and the shared enthusiasm and drive for continual improvement is palpable.

I continue to be firmly of the opinion that the school fully meets the standard required by the Inclusion Quality Mark to maintain its status as a Centre of Excellence.  I therefore recommend that the school retains its Centre of Excellence status and is reviewed again in 12 months.  The next review will look closely at how the school has interacted with its Inclusion Cluster and promoted continuing outreach.  Evidence of cluster working will underpin the capacity for the school to maintain its Centre of Excellence status.

Assessor: Ms Hannah Bowden

Findings confirmed by Inclusion Quality Mark (UK) Ltd:

Joe McCann MBA NPQH   

Director of Inclusion Quality Mark (UK) Ltd